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Defense Health Care: DOD Should Monitor Urgent Referrals to Civilian Behavioral Health Providers to Ensure Timely Care : Government Accountability Office (GAO) , February 6, , 2024

February 6, 2024

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

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From the report: "DOD’s Defense Health Agency (DHA) oversees the TRICARE program, which offers behavioral health care to active-duty service members. DOD aims to provide this care at its military treatment facilities (MTF), but may also refer service members to civilian network providers. GAO’s analysis of DHA data found that in fiscal year 2022, service members obtained routine and urgent specialty behavioral health care appointments (e.g., psychotherapy and substance use disorder treatments) at MTFs within required time frames (see figure). For referrals to civilian network providers, appointments after routine referrals fell just outside time frame requirements. Regarding appointments after urgent referrals, DHA has not established a specific time frame, but MTFs are instructed to use such referrals when expedited care is needed. GAO found average appointment wait times following these referrals ranged from over 2 weeks, to more than 3 weeks, depending on the region."



Government Accountability Office (GAO)


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